What I do for myself

Eloise Rickman, in her book Extraordinary Parenting, writes of asking mothers what they do for themselves only to meet blank stares. Many mothers don’t do anything for themselves.

I had to stop the audiobook to clarify to Beth-Ellen, who was folding laundry alongside me, that I was not one of those women. I am no martyr. I do things for myself all day long.

I make my bed when I wake up and delight in the beauty of the quilt my mother made us or the one I made myself.

I copy out a passage of Scripture, slowly working my way through a text.

I cuddle with one of my little ones as they slowly wake up.

I peer out the window at the newest visitor to our bird feeder, trying to memorize its features so I can look it up later (if I don’t know its identity) or pointing out its various features to my children if I do know something about it.

I memorize passages of Scripture and sing hymns with my children during our morning worship.

I grub about in one of my many beds of native plants when I step outside to call the kids in or to get the mail or to empty the compost pail.

I read The Story of the World and Hans Christian Anderson during “together time.” I read poems, old and new. I learn the names of the clouds with my children and what weather each type of clouds portends.

I take long baths while reading up on whatever my current pet topic is.

I dream up and research out the next garden bed and then work to implement it.

I plan the next year’s school curriculum and delight in thinking of the next subjects my children and I will deep dive into together.

I sketch ideas for the next Easter or Christmas outfits and then comb through the patterns I have and what free patterns I can find to approximate the vision I have in my head. I dig through my fabric collection and delight in not spending anything, except joyful time sewing, on my kids’ festival clothing.

I make cut-up cakes for my kids’ birthdays, with each opening of the Twizzler bag bringing back fond memories of the cakes my grandma made me.

I do these things for myself day in and day out. Just because I also do them with or for others does not make them any less for me.

Sometimes, my family and I drink deeply together of life-giving water. Other times, I pour out and find myself all the more enriched for having used the things I delight in to serve my family.

Truly, I lead a rich and fulfilling life.

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